A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab

Review for…

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Officially he serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador. Unofficially he’s a smuggler, an occupation through which Kell is tricked into unleashing dark magic across the Londons. Can he prevent the same fate that befell Black London?

So, I recently went through an anti-anything-YA phase, but discovered that by confronting my own insecurities, and not reading ones that won’t interest me, I’ll enjoy more books. This isn’t YA, but I thought it was for a long time. That said, it wasn’t as mature as I hoped or expected, but fun nonetheless. The main characters feel young somehow.

The world is so interesting, and quickly being brought along with Kell as he travels between world (As Travars) was fantastic. There was something sad and lovely about the different worlds, the differences between the monarchs… The shadows of lost potential and used up chances just really got to me.

This excuses the somewhat familiar feel of the characters in a foreign landscape. Kell felt a little like Eddie Redmayne playing Newt Scamander to me, but a bit of the rogue inside him. Lila quickly grew me, and Rhy was a little too scarce to get a read on. Holland was the most unreadable to me, but that’s purposeful— I’m still quite unclear on his motivations and goals.

Lila made a strong entrance, and her easy hand for violence before I’d gotten a good look at her rubbed me the wrong way, but I’m trying to be kinder to female characters, and she made it up anyway, by being tough on Kell when he was whining about growing up with a family who loved him. He needed that.

Anyway, maybe this is a spoiler, but I have a theory about Lila: I think she could be an antari.

There was also some kissing in this book, which made it feel younger than it was. Sometimes kisses can sweep you away and be powerful, but I feel like that kind of significant kissing is usually reserved for YA where it usually remains somewhat chaste in regards to sex.

Anyway, I would have read the sequel by now if my reading buddy weren’t still on page 200. Also because I want to own the second one, I already own the third, because of how good they look on my shelf.

Pages: 400
Year: 24 February 2015
Publisher: Tor Books

Read: 15 July 2017 to 13 September 2017
Stars: 4 (really liked it)